General Prosecutor To Be Nominated by a Simple Majority?

While the government still has not taken up any public position on the successor of General Prosecutor (PP) Adriatik Llalla, whose 5-year term is expiring early next month, it appears that the EU and US technical assistance missions EURALIUS and OPDAT has today suggested to elect a temporary PP, who will be in function until the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) will choose a successor.

Because the mandate of Llalla is ending while the KLP, one of the new institutions resulting from the judicial reform, has not yet been instituted by Parliament, there is the risk of vacuum in the selection of his successor. The Albanian Constitution demands that the KLP administer the process of nominations for the PP, who shall be elected by a 3/5 vote of the parliament.

However, it now seems that OPDAT and EURALIUS are suggesting that a temporary PP shall be elected with a simple majority in the Parliament, theoretically with the support 36 out of 140 members of Parliament (with a quorum of 71). It means that Prime Minister Rama can practically nominate any choice of his liking for a temporary PP.

If this will be a case, it will be a blow to the spirit of the judicial reform imposed by the EU and the US governments, which overhauled the Albanian justice system with the purpose of limiting political influence and increasing the independence of the system.

More importantly, such choice might influence a number of criminal investigations into several prominent political leaders of the majority, including former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri, under investigation for colluding with a drug trafficking scheme, and Durrës Mayor Vangjush Dako, who is being investigated for electoral fraud, corruption, and criminal association.

The opposition has proposed that instead of nominating a new General Prosecutor, Llalla’s current mandate be extended until the institution of the KLP.

It is unclear why EURALIUS and OPDAT took it upon themselves to deliver or write up an opinion on the issue. However, the language used in the note sound more like political talk rather than legal jargon. Their claims is that there is no constitutional or legal authority for Parliament to extend the mandate of the General Prosecutor after his mandate has ended, and that, on the contrary, there is a clear provision that orders the nomination of temporary General Prosecutor.

But in fact, there seems to be no such clear provision, which is why a dispute is brewing on the interpretation of the law. Albania’s Constitutional Court is the only institution that interprets the Constitution and Albanian laws and therefore there may be a high chance the issue of the new – temporary or not – PP will end up the Constitutional Court.